The New York Giants, a team that stands alone in first place in the East Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) with a Won-Loss record of just 4-4, scored forty-nine points last Sunday in a game against the New Orleans Saints and lost.
Eli Manning, a two-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the Super Bowl tossed six touchdown passes for the “G-Men,” but it wasn’t good enough. Drew Brees, the future Hall of Fame quarterback for the home team Saints, successfully completed seven touchdown passes.
It was an exciting game to watch, but it showed conclusively that the Giants are defensively-challenged. The visitors from the Meadowlands had absolutely no answers for the offensive onslaught unleashed upon them by New Orleans, itself a team that is virtually defenseless.
And now, in Week Nine, New York is scheduled to visit Tampa Bay for a contest against the Buccaneers, another NFC squad that plays in the South Division, has a Won-Loss record of 3-4 and trails first place Carolina by four-and-one-half games.
The Buccaneers only trail New York by one-half game, a fact that may become relevant if the Giants end up joining the squad from the south in a quest for a Wild Card. This game is, like most games will be from now on, very important. The Giants can remain in first place with a win. And the home team “Bucs” can take a big step forward in the race for one of two NFC Wild Cards.
This contest will pit two teams against one another with contrasting strengths and weaknesses. The Giants have shown repeatedly that they can be an offensive juggernaut. Eli Manning has been completing passes with regularity to second year superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. And now, the team that actually plays its home games in New Jersey may be able to activate Victor Cruz, another top wide receiver who has not played since last season.
The team from northern Florida has been dependent on first year franchise quarterback Jameis Winston. As is always true for rookies, especially rookie quarterbacks, Winston has been “hot and cold,” good sometimes and not-so-good other times.
But, the Buccaneers also rely on a young, tough and improving defense. In the game against the visiting Giants, the defense will be tested. One weakness that Tampa Bay may be able to exploit is the offensive line that protects Eli Manning. It has been spotty at best.
If Tampa Bay can penetrate that sometimes porous line, it may turn out to be a very long day for Eli Manning. Of course, if Manning gets time to throw, the long day will belong to the home team.
This game is important to both teams and its outcome is hard to predict. The truth is that either team can emerge victorious. As is always the case, superior performances on the gridiron will ultimately decide which team wins the game.
Courtesy of Zimbio.com